Citizen Wolf is changing the t-shirt game with a range dedicated to tailor made, high quality t-shirts in sustainable fabrications like locally sourced organic cotton and merino jersey. Made to order in Sydney, Australia, this ethical leader is introducing a zero waste model to a garment that most of us wear almost everyday.
After receiving my very own custom fit, organic cotton "Almost Perfect Tee", I can attest to the brand delivering exactly what it promises...excellent fit, amazing quality and a t-shirt I will wear for a very long time! I was lucky enough to gain some inside insight into Citizen Wolf from co-founder Eric Phu. You won't want to miss the story behind the brand that was created to solve an all too relevant problem in the fashion industry and has resulted in a service and industry leading product we all need.
What was your inspiration behind starting Citizen Wolf?
Citizen Wolf started with a very simple idea: what if clothes were made to fit you, and not the other way around?
We’re seven billion different body shapes, so how on earth are we expected to fit neatly into S / M / L sizing? Especially when brands can’t even agree on what a “medium” is (don’t even get us started on vanity sizing!). If I want suiting or bridal, tailoring has existed for millennia and I can solve that problem by throwing cash at it. But what about the clothes I wear 90% of my life?
Since it’s almost fifty years since man landed on the moon, we thought surely someone has solved this by now?! Instead, we found an industry addicted to Fast Fashion and incredibly wasteful mass production. Did you know that out of the 80 billion garments churned out of sweatshops every year: 20% will end up in landfill without having been sold, and another 30% thrown out after just being worn once? That's 40 BILLION garments not needing to be made. Every. Year.
Rather than contributing to this insanity, Citizen Wolf is built from the ground up to create clothes locally on demand, ethically and with zero waste - starting with the humble T-shirt. Since every Tee is designed to your unique fit and style, you’ll look great, feel great and want to wear it more often. Everyone wins!
What made you decide to use only organic cotton and merino wool fabrications for Citizen Wolf Tees?
We believe that natural and sustainable fabrics are the best choice for people, product and planet. Our goal was to have as short a supply chain as possible to reduce the environmental impact - which was quite a challenge in Australia, given there aren’t many mills left!
After a lot of research and testing, we settled on an organic cotton milled in Melbourne. The substantial 180gsm weight is both softer and more durable than typical cotton blends, making it much more eco-friendly in the long term. As no pesticides or harsh chemicals are used from seed to stitch, it’s also safe for all skin types.
We then wanted to add a more luxurious range of fabrics, and the same mill also produced merino wool jersey (from non mulesed sheep so no animals are harmed in the process either!). Australian merinos actually produce 90% of the wool used in “next-to-skin” fabric because the superfine micron count - it’s over five times thinner than human hair - gives it incredible natural properties.
For example, it’s extra breathable to keep you cooler in warm climates, and warmer in cold climates. It dries super fast and is naturally antimicrobial, so it needs much less washing. And less washing means significantly less impact on the environment over the lifetime of the Tee.
The main reason it’s loved though is the ultra-luxe feel and drape - our customers describe it “like being hugged by a cloud”.
Why is it important to you that the manufacturing of Citizen Wolf Tees happens in Australia?
There are three linked reasons why this was critical to us: quality, speed and social impact.
Our customers expect premium quality, so it was critical to control the production process and be quick to respond to any issues without needing to book a flight. Being local gives us the flexibility to adapt and iterate rapidly.
We’re also fortunate that Australia has highly skilled workers and some of the strongest workplace protections in the world. Combining that with local fabrics means we minimise the overall carbon footprint and environmental impact while ensuring ethical production at every step of the way. By making in Australia, we also support the local supply chain rather than contributing to the exploitation that’s all too common in the industry.
How did you come up with the designs for the Citizen Wolf Tee range?
We developed the first pattern - what we affectionately call the “Almost Perfect Tee” - with an experienced pattern maker. The idea was to start with what we believe a great Tee should be: minimalist, classic, and flattering for most body shapes.
Customers then use that as a starting point to create their own style. In fact, our very first female customer got so excited and inspired by what she created that we ended up naming the “Tiffany Jones” design after her.
We’ve also had influencers - our Wolf Pack - create their own unique Tees and write about how they were inspired to choose their particular details.
Since then, we’ve created a range of other styles for both men and women to show off what’s possible. Like the “Almost Perfect” though, they’re just springboards for customisation. After all, we believe everyone is unique, and that every T-shirt tells a story; best that it tells yours!
Why do you think a Citizen Wolf Tee is worth investing in?
There are many rational reasons to choose us:
- a significantly lower environmental impact than traditional mass produced clothing
- made ethically, rather than in indentured slave labour sweatshops
- get perfect fit without having to spend years hunting for it
- look and feel better than off-the-rack
- lifetime measured in years rather than washes
In fact, we named ourselves after the types of customers who care about these things: citizens with a social conscience that aren’t “sheep” following fickle fashion fads.
Ultimately though, the key reason is that Citizen Wolf Tees are investments in yourself. After all, your clothing is the skin you choose to best reflect who you are; why settle for anything less than the best version?